Do you work from a home office – but have difficulty staying focused on your work? If so, this post is most definitely for you.
I recently did a post about staying productive when working from home, but this one is going to be morefocused on how to avoid distractions and those awful interruptions. Yes, this includes your cellphone.
Here’s 5 simple ways to stop interruptions when working from home:
1: Alert the media
Okay, not really.
Just let people know what your work schedule is, and that you will not be available during those hours. Let them know, should they interrupt you, they will be greeted with irritation and will owe you a cup of coffee.
When I first started freelancing, I had a big issue with this. People would assume (and still do) that, because I am at home, I am free to hang out or help them with things. They would text me about getting Starbucks (I have an exceedingly hard time turning down a latte), making sure their dog is okay, or helping them find a cute outfit for their date. It was always random things, and was rarely ever urgent or an emergency.
At first, I stopped what I was doing to be with my friends. I was doing content mill (ugh) work, and was bored as could be. I would take frequent breaks, and answer my phone the second anyone sent a text.
However, once I started to treat my freelancing like the business it is, I stopped allowing for these distractions. I let people know I am working, and that I would get back to them later. I treat my office like any other office, and I have a strict policy about using my cellphone while I am actively working.
#2: Separate yourself
This may sound like a bit of an obvious point, but closing the door to your office will make a big difference inblocking out interruptions when working from home. Open doors mean sounds (and people) will come in and out, disturbing your work.
Even when my husband is at work, I close the door to my home office. This means I cannot see the rest of my apartment, so I’m not as tempted to get up and do laundry or clean. I can separate myself from the rest of my home, and have Work Time.
#3: Stay consistent
It’s important to have a schedule, and to let people know what it is. It’s also important to stick to that schedule.
Don’t tell people to not bother you between 8 and 6 pm, but then text them throughout the day (or send Snapchats) about hilarious YouTube videos you’ve found. . . while working. . .somehow.
Set up your schedule, and stick to it. This means getting dressed, getting ready for work, and then actually working. It’s okay to take breaks, but most of your designated Work time should be spent getting things done.
You can’t make money without conducting business!
#4: Make it obvious you are busy
If you have to be in a space that has a lot of people in it (coffee shop, home with roommates, library, etc.), try your best to send out that, “Don’t bother me…I don’t want to talk to you” type of vibe.
I’ve found headphones are one of the best ways to do this.
If you’re wearing headphones, people are less likely to come up and talk to you. (NOTE: I said “less likely” because some people are just plain rude and bothersome.)
Other ways of “looking busy” include:
Sitting up straight, holding a pen, placing a notebook next to your computer, and avoiding frequent glances around the room.
#5: Have some sort of background noise
While this doesn’t work for everyone, it certainly works well for me and several other freelancers I know.
I tend to have Netflix playing a show I’ve seen a million times. I just let all of the episodes play on their own, and keep the volume fairly low. This gives some sort of noise to the room, but isn’t really all that distracting. I do this with ambient music on YouTube, as well, but the ads can get annoying.
What are your top tips for stopping interruptions when working from home? Let me know in the comments below!
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